Carlos reigned as King of Spain from September 17, 1665 until his death on November 1, 1700. He ruled for 35 years.
January 17, 2011
Carlos was born on November 6, 1661. He was the only surviving son of Phillip IV of Spain and Mariana of Austria. He was born with severe deformations. As you can see in the picture on the right, he had an extremely large head and a large Habsburg jaw. His underbite was so bad that his teeth did not line up, and as a result, he could not chew. His legs were also too thin and weak to support his weight, so he could not walk without support. He was also mentally retarted to the point that he was thought to have the mind of a small child when he was in his twenties. Some historians even venture to say that his life had two intellectual cycles, the first being that of a child, and the second being the senility of an old man.
Phillip IV died in 1665 at the age of 60. Carlos was his only heir, and was made King of Spain at the age of 4. His mother, Mariana of Austria, served as his regent for most of his reign, as even as an adult he was incapable of ruling a kingdom. In 1675, Carlos was asked to approve a decree of an extended regency, which would give his mother much more power. He refused and wrote letters to many Spanish officials and noblemen. Eventually, he was forced to meet with his mother about the decree. A few hours into the meeting, Carlos emerged from the room crying. He agreed to the decree and never challenged his mother or any other authority again.
In 1679, Carlos was married to Marie Louise, the niece of Louis XIV. She hated Carlos, who was madly in love with her, and spent a lot of time weeping before their wedding. She hated the Spanish court, which had tight etiquette and traditions. She became depressed, and died in 1689. Carlos married Maria Anna, a German noblewoman. She spent much of her time staring out the window of her bedroom, and despised Spain and the Spanish court, like Marie Louise did.
In 1698, Carlos became gravely ill. His health was already in a deplorable state (he had become completely bald at 35, his teeth had all fallen out, and he was nearly blind) and was now rappidly worsening. His illness eventually made him deaf. On November 1, 1700, Carlos died after two years of pain and suffering and a lifetime of sadness.
Interesting Fact #1: Carlos was thought to be impotent, and both of his marriages produced no children. His death without an heir sparked the War of Spanish Succession, which raged from 1702 until 1713. In the end it was decided that Phillip, Duke of Anjou, would become the King of Spain.
Interesting Fact #2: Carlos was the last of the Habsburg Kings of Spain. His successor, Phillip V, was the first of the Bourbon Kings of Spain. King Juan Carlos I, the current King of Spain, is a member of the Bourbon dynasty.
Interesting Fact #3: Some historians believe that Carlos suffered from a bone disease, acromegaly. If this was the case, it would explain his inability to walk (acromegaly greatly weakens the bones).